Declaration of War Changed Siblings’ Lives

World War II meant many were drafted to fight overseas.


| November 2008


I would imagine that few Americans thought about the war in Europe before the Pearl Harbor attack.

Ordinary people had struggled through the Great Depression. Deep scars remained from those lean years, and some people continued to struggle. Besides, two oceans isolated our country from the conflict.

My family lived on a small, rented acreage without electricity. My dad had purchased a table-model, battery-­operated radio, and the mail delivery brought a daily newspaper. These were our only links to the outside world.

There were two daughters and three sons in our family. My sister and oldest brother had both married and lived in a nearby town. My brother and his wife were expecting their first child that December.



On Dec. 7, 1941 around 7:30 a.m. Hawaii time, the first Japanese planes dropped torpedoes on our ships. Dad was listening to a Sunday program on the radio, and Mom was resting. I was 13 then, and I had been outside soaking up some sunshine on an unusually warm winter day with my 16-year-old brother­.

Suddenly, a car skidded into our driveway and stopped. Our two married siblings and their spouses had driven out from town to tell us the news.







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